To Utility and Beyond! Specifying and Advancing the Utility of Measurement-Based Care for Youth

Bryce D. McLeod*, Amanda Jensen-Doss, Aaron R. Lyon, Susan Douglas, Rinad S. Beidas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Mental health organizations that serve youth are under pressure to adopt measurement-based care (MBC), defined as the continuous collection of client-report data used to support clinical decision-making as part of standard care. However, few frameworks exist to help leadership ascertain how to select an MBC approach for a clinical setting. This paper seeks to define how an MBC approach can display clinical utility to provide such a framework. Broadly, we define clinical utility as evidence that an MBC approach assists stakeholders in fulfilling clinical goals related to care quality (i.e., improve client-clinician alliance and clinical outcomes) at the client (i.e., youth and caregiver), clinician, supervisor, and administrator levels. More specifically, our definition of clinical utility is divided into two categories relevant to the usability and usefulness of an MBC approach for a specific setting: (a) implementability (i.e., evidence indicating ease of use in a clinical setting) and (b) usefulness in aiding clinical activities (i.e., evidence indicating the potential to improve communication and make clinical activities related to care quality easier or more effective). These categories provide valuable information about how easy an MBC approach is to use and the potential benefits that the MBC data will confer. To detail how we arrived at this definition, we review prior definitions of clinical utility, discuss how previous definitions inform our definition of clinical utility for MBC, and provide examples of how the concept of clinical utility can be applied to MBC. We finish with a discussion of future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-388
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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